After an introduction by Elena Manferdini that stressed the variety of her activities – installation, research, performance, building – Frida Escobedo comments that she began in architecture as “a career that would give a structure of thought rather than a definition of a profession”.
She proposes petrified wood as an image of her interests: materials that carry the marks of history, like writing. This interest informs Split subject (2012-20), a project that began as a thesis project at the GSD, but has evolved numerous iterations over many years.
The project began with her fascination with a modernist tower in the Colonia Juárez section of Mexico City, in which the glass façade seemed to provide a registration of the history of the building’s habitation.
Escobedo discusses a number of other projects that share with Split subject issues of masking, stratification, flattening and hiding:
•The renovation and re-activization of the La Tallera Siqueiros, Morelos (2012)
•An installation and participatory performance in the El Eco Experimental Museum, Mexico City (2017), influenced by writing: Brenda Lozano, Concrete poetry, and Ferreira Gullar.
•An interactive performance/viewing Civic stage, Lisbon Architecture Triennial (2013)
•Estación No.16, Biennale d’Architecture d’Orleans (2018), interrogating Oliver Seguin’s public sculpture for the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City as an emblem of Mexico’s precarious progress and harmony.
•A Serpentine pavilion, London (2018) designed to be impermanent and mobile.
•El Otro II, Guggenheim Bilbao (2018), in which the window of the modernist tower in Colonia Juárez were redeployed in Bilbao.
Escobedo concludes by quoting Mallarmé: “Nothing will have taken place but the place.” Stéphane Mallarmé